READING needed a penalty-shootout to progress to the EFL Cup second-round against League One side Wycombe Wanderers as debutant goalkeeper Rafael made two penalty saves.
Alex Samuel opened the scoring for Wycombe in the second half but Reading responded quickly as George Puscas scored his first goal for the club on his first start.
Danny Loader scored the winning penalty for the Royals after debutant goalkeeper Rafael announced himself to the Reading faithful by saving two penalties in the shootout.
Reading enjoyed an early spell of possession as they kept hold of the ball against their League One opponents. The first big chance of the game came after just five minutes as Andy Rinomhota found Lucas Boye in the box but his effort was tipped away for a corner.
Michael Morrison came close when he met Charlie Adam’s resulting corner but headed a couple of yards over the bar.
A second chance of the game then fell for Boye after some good link up play from Adam and Rinomhota but the goalkeeper denied the Argentine striker again.
With the Royals still creating most of the chances in the match, Adam tried his luck from range and almost got the better Allsop as he reacted slowly and almost let the ball squirm under his body from what should have been a routine save.
George Puscas had his first sight of goal when he linked up with Omar Richards with a quick passing exchange but the Romanian forward headed over the bar from just five yards out.
Reading then created the best chance of the half with 34 minutes on the clock as Puscas was played clean through on goal, but his slow reactions allowed Phillips to recover and get his body in the way of his shot which was scuffed and fell kindly into the arms of Allsop.
Sam Baldock replaced the lively Lucas Boye at the break.
The second half started as a much more even contest and Wycombe were rewarded for their persistence as they broke the deadlock in the 58th minute.
Alex Samuel made a clever run from the corner and glanced a header at the near post from Josh Parker’s corner to leave debutant goalkeeper Rafael helpless to put the League One outfit in front.
John Swift replaced Adam and made an immediate impact as he played through Puscas whose first effort was saved well by Allsop but the striker followed up instinctively to score the rebound to claim his first Reading goal.
Both sides pushed for a winner with attacking changes as Reading brought on Danny Loader while the hosts put the intimidatingly built Adebayo Akinfenwa on to the pitch.
And Loader went agonisingly close to scoring the winner with just a few minutes left but his shot following a goalmouth scramble was blocked on the line.
Wycombe then went even closer to snatching the match as Akinfenwa used his strength to work some space for a header but saw his effort bounce off the bar.
The game progressed to a penalty-shootout after the sides could not be separated during the 90 minutes.
Wycombe- Gape scores, Freeman missed (Rafael saves), Pattison scored, Onyadima missed Rafael
Reading- Puscas scored, Baldock scored, Swift scored, Loader scored
Reading: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Miazga, Morrison, Rinomhota, Adam (Swift 61′), Pele, Ejaria (Loader 79), Boye (Baldock 45′), Puscas.
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Grimmer, Stewart, Phillips, Mascoll, Gape, Pattison, Kashket, Freeman, Parker, Samuel.
Goals: Samuel (59), Puscas (63)
Reading penalties: Puscas scored, Baldock scored, Swift scored, Loader scored
Wycombe penalties: Gape scored, Freeman missed (saved Rafael), Pattison scored, Onyedinma missed (saved Rafael)